How you care for your skimboard can have a drastic affect on how long it holds together. By exercising a little care, you can make your sled last forever (well, almost….).
* Always keep your board out of the sun. This is especially true for boards that are made out of carbon or have dark colored paint on them. Under intense sunlight the surface of your board can reach and surpass the temperature at which your resin breaks down. Your board wont melt right there on the sand, but it will be significantly weaker afterwards. In order to keep this from happening, pay attention when you stick your board in the sand. You want to turn the rail toward the sun. If done properly, the shadow made by the board will be very small. This keeps a lot of light from hitting your board and hence avoids heat.
* Always repair dings right away. A ding is a small “dent” in a skimboard caused by impact with some object.
If you get a ding in your board that breaks the fiberglass apart, be sure and fix it (or have it fixed). If you don’t, the process of the water soaking into the foam and then drying out will make the foam deteriorate pretty quickly. It also makes it harder to repair because the foam will often have to be drilled out and a larger area will have to be filled. This makes the board heavier which is not desireable.
* Always fix a delamination. Delamination occurs when the fiberglass loses its adhesion with the foam of a skimboard. This results in a much weaker skimboard if not repaired. They are recognizable by bubbles that will appear on the top or bottom of the board where the fiberglass has detached. If you have one you will be able to press down on the bubble and it will pop back up (a little) due to the fact that the glass has detached at that point. They range in size from about the size of a baseball to the size of a basketball (at which point your board will almost always break). Delamination’s seem seem like they would not be much of a problem. There is no water getting under the fiberglass or anything, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that much of the strength of your skimboard comes from the bond between the foam and the fiberglass. When this bond is broken (as in a delamination) the overall strength of the board is reduced and it will often break. I would estimate that 85% of broken boards are broken because of an delamination that didn’t get repaired.
* Protect your board when traveling. Skimboards don’t get hurt much in the trunks of cars but they do get beat up on airlines all the time. If you are traveling on an airline be sure to protect your sled. I recommend buying a board bag (the travel kind). This alone won’t protect your board on a flight but if you buy an oversized bag and then stuff it with other stuff (wetsuits, towels…) you will probably be okay. Be sure that the rails have plenty of padding. A good rule of thumb is to protect it so that you can drop it from 4 feet on to concrete and not get a ding (assume it will be dropped on the rail). A travel bag can also protect your board from heat and the dings that might be gotten while sliding around in the back of a truck.